Chorizo & Kumara Stuffed Mushrooms with Crispy Kale

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Yummm! These mushrooms are a hearty side dish or even a main meal. Just what you need to refuel after a long day of exams, which I know many of you are going through right now. I love Chorizo and it’s spicy hit, this alongside the sweet Kumara and earthy mushrooms creates a beautiful flavour combination. The crispy Kale on top adds texture to the whole dish.

For 4 stuffed mushrooms, you will need:

4 large Portobello mushrooms, 1 medium Kumara (sweet potato), 1 cup of chopped Chorizo, 1/2 red onion, 1 clove of garlic, 2 cups of Kale, 1 tbsp cream cheese, 1 tbsp dried thyme, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried coriander flakes, pinch of chili flakes (optional), salt & pepper, olive oil or coconut oil.

– Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees.

– Peel the Kumara and cut into small cubes. Place on a baking tray, lightly coat with olive oil, salt & pepper. Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until tender.

– Chop the chorizo, onion and garlic. Lightly brown these ingredients in a fry pan with a little olive oil. Allow to cool slightly and add to a mixing bowl.

– Once the Kumara is cooked, add this to the same mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and add the dried herbs. Add the cream cheese and stir to combine.

– For the mushrooms, use your fingers to peel the muddy outside layer off and discard and cut the stalk out. Coat them in olive oil and salt and pepper. Use the same pan you cooked the Kumara in (extra flavour and less dishes!) pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes.

– Once the mushrooms are cooked, place a spoon full of the Chorizo and Kumara filling on top of each mushroom. Place under the girl for a couple of minutes until the top slightly browns. For extra deliciousness, grate some cheese on top before placing under the grill.

– For the crispy kale, remove the kale stalks. Place on a baking tray and lightly coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven at 180 for about 15 minutes, or until crispy. Serve on top of the mushrooms.

Slow Cooked Beef Pot Pies

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It seems to be a bit odd posting this recipe for a slow cooked pie when I am inside my house right now hiding from the scorching New Zealand  sun! But I suppose I miss the chilly winter Christmassy days that I used to have in England, and food is a way of reliving those feelings. Anyway, this recipe came out of me having hardly anything in my freezer/fridge/pantry because I desperately try to avoid the supermarkets at this time of year and also after buying Christmas presents I am officially poor. I had some stewing steak (topside beef) so I got out my trusty Breville Fast/Slow cooker and created these little bad boys. They are awesome individually portioned in funky little ramekins or pie dishes. When cooked for a long period of time slowly, this cheap cut of meat transforms into rich, tasty beef that just falls apart = Yum!

You will need for 6 pies:

About 4 steaks (A packet of stewing steak from the supermarket should be enough. Often it is already cut up for you),1 cup of beef stock (I used 1 Beef OXO cube in a cup of boiling water), 2 tbspn Worcestershire sauce, 1 onion, 1 clove of garlic, 1 tspn paprika, salt & pepper. About 6 potatoes or Kumara (sweet potatoes) for the top of the pie.

– Chop steak, onion and garlic and place in the slow cooker.

– Boil the kettle and dissolve 1 beef stock cube in 1 cup of boiled water (or use 1 cup of stock of your choice). Pour this into the slow cooker.

– Add the Worcestershire sauce, paprika and season with salt and pepper. Give it all a stir and put the slow cooker on medium for 8 hours or on low for 10 hours.

– Before the slow cooker timer is up, peel and chop the potatoes and place them in a saucepan full of cold water. Bring to the boil and let simmer until the potatoes are ‘mashable’.

– When the beef is done in the slow cooker turn your slow cooker onto ‘sear/simmer’ and let simmer away stiring for about 8 minutes (this is to reduce the liquid down a bit to create a thicker gravy without adding flour). If your slow cooker doesn’t have this setting, place the beef and liquid into a saucepan and do the same process.

– Place the beef and some sauce into a ramekin or pie dish. Mash the potatoes with a little butter and salt and pepper (add some milk if your potatoes are a little dry). Carefully spoon the mash on top of the pies. Place under the grill until lightly crispy on top. Serve with a side of in season vegetables.

Super Simple Stir Fry

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Tonight was one of those nights where I looked in the fridge and there wasn’t much there. Stir Fry’s are such a quick and easy meal to create, and you really don’t need that much to create them. These noodles were a bargain from PAK’nSAVE at 98c each and 98% fat free. Also forget those pre made ‘stir fry sauces’ full of sugar and preservatives, the sauce for this is easy and flavorsome.

You will need (for two large portions):

2 packs of 98% fat free udon noodles, 1 chicken breast, 1/2 head of broccoli, 2 cups of frozen spinach, 2 zucchinis, 1/2 onion, thumb size piece of fresh ginger, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 red chili (de-seeded), optional – 2 hard or soft boiled eggs, 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 1 tbspn honey.

– Boil the udon noodles in a saucepan for about 2 minutes and drain.

– In a fry pan, heat some olive oil (or oil of your choice) and add the chopped garlic, ginger, chili and onion and cook until softened.

– Add in the chicken and cook almost all the way through.

– Add in the vegetables and noodles and cook until vegetables are soft and the chicken is cooked through (10 mins on medium heat)

– Add the honey and soy sauce and cook for a further 5 mins.

– Slice the egg and place on top – serve.

Paleo Meatballs with Butternut Squash Mash

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This recipe is a hearty, cheap meal that I love to prepare on a weekend for some of my lunches during the week. Knowing its supposed to rain all of this week, I wanted something that was warm and filling to have on my lunch breaks. I love the comforting feeling of spaghetti and meatballs, but pasta is definitely not on the menu right now, so I decided to create a roasted butternut squash mash with a delicious tomato sauce to tie it all together.

For this recipe (3 portions) you will need:

Mash:

1 butternut squash, 1/2 kg of beef mince (I used 1/2 of Pak’N’Save’s $12 kg beef mince), 1 tin of tomatoes, 1 brown onion, 1 clove of garlic, 1 tbspn Worcester sauce, 1 egg, tspn butter, olive oil, salt & pepper. Optional – dried mixed herbs, ground coriander, tspn capers, tbpsn black olives.

– Pre heat the oven to 180’C. Cut up the butternut squash into pieces (removing the seeds) and place on a baking tray. Lightly coat the squash with some olive oil, salt & pepper. I added some dried mixed herbs and ground coriander for some extra flavour.

– Roast in the oven for 40 mins (or until a fork goes through the squash easily).

Meatballs:

– In a bowl, mix the mince, half a chopped onion, a tbspn of Worcester sauce, salt & pepper and 1 egg. (optional add some dried mixed herbs and ground coriander to this mix as well)

– Roll the meatball mix into balls.

– In a hot frying pan, brown the meatballs. Be gentle with them as they are more delicate than traditional meatball recipes, as they do not have breadcrumbs in them to help bind them together). Place a lid on the pan and lower the heat. Cook the meatballs through, turning occasionally for about 15 mins.

Sauce:

– In a saucepan, add some olive oil and the rest of the brown onion. With this, add the chopped clove of garlic.

– Soften the onion and garlic, and if you want too add in some capers and olives.

– Add in the tinned tomatoes. I like to use Watties ‘Savoury tomatoes’. Let this simmer for about 15 minutes and season to taste.

Finally:

– Use a hand blender or masher to mash the butternut squash. Add in the tspn of butter (optional) for a creamy taste.

– Place the meatballs on top and cover with the sauce.

– Enjoy hot or let cool and place in freezer safe containers and freeze for when you need a quick lunch or dinner.

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Kale Chips

 

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A healthy, tasty, cheap snack. I first had kale chips up at my friends beautiful Seaview House in Napier and loved it! (check out her Facebook page, you can stay there yourself! Links under the recipe). I scored a big bunch of kale from Buck’s Food Market in Central Hawkes Bay for $1.99 – cheaper than most bags of chips in the supermarket! 

To make kale chips, all you have to do is:

– Remove the stalk from the kale and chop into about 3cm pieces.

– Clean the kale and pat dry. Leave it to dry for about 10 minutes (it won’t get crispy if its wet)

– Place on baking paper on a baking tray. Make sure no kale pieces are overlapping others.

– Drizzle over some olive oil and salt and pepper.

– Bake in the oven on 170 for about 10 minutes. Cooking kale right is very important. If its not cooked long enough its just chewy, but if cooked for slightly too long it has a nasty burnt taste, so keep an eye on it.

Leyan’s bach in Napier – http://www.facebook.com/seaviewhouse

Paleo Pineapple Ice Blocks

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Something tasty and fun, also a great activity to get kids involved in creating healthy treats. These are made with just half a fresh pineapple and half a can of coconut milk! (it made 8) They taste creamy and fruity – perfect. These ice lolly molds are from the $2 store.

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Freeze overnight and enjoy!

Chicken & Vegetable soup

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Chicken soup is the ultimate winter food. Here in New Zealand its rather chilly, and I was craving something comforting. I had my family round our house for dinner last night and we had roast chicken. After watching Jamie Oliver’s ‘Save With Jamie’ on TV the other night, I’ve been determined to not let anything go to waste, so this recipe is made using the carcasses from last nights roast chicken. I also threw in all the vegetables that needed to be used up, or I would be throwing them out. This recipe saves wastage, money and is a home cooked classic. I also got a chance to use my new slow cooker from Breville, it’s the Fast & Slow cooker and is GREAT for so many recipes. The good thing about soup is that you can adapt it to whatever you like, or have on hand. Here’s what went in mine:

You will need (it makes ALOT! I like to split mine into containers and keep them in the freezer. This recipe filled two empty ice cream containers up):

2 chicken carcasses, 1 chicken stock cube, water, 1 carrot, 2 cups of red cabbage, 1 medium kumara (sweet potato), 1/2 a small butternut squash, 1 & 1/2 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 cup of frozen peas, a few stalks of fresh coriander & parsley, 3 stalks of fresh rosemary, salt & pepper, the juice of 1 lemon.

– Place your cooked carcasses in a large saucepan/pot (I did mine in 2 saucepans as I didn’t have a big enough pot) onto the hob. Add in the stock cube and cover the carcasses with cold water.

– Put the pot on until it boils. When it reaches boiling, turn the temperature down to a simmer and simmer the carcasses for 1 hour.

– Chop your vegetables. (You can do this anyway you like as if you like a smooth soup you will blitz it later. If you like a chunky consistency, chop your vegetable the way you like to eat them) Place all of the vegetable into a slow cooker apart from the onions and the fresh herbs.

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– In a pan, soften the onions with the garlic. Once soft and browned slightly, add them into the slow cooker with the rest of the vegetables.

– Once the chicken carcasses have been simmering for an hour, sieve the stock into a bowl. Using tongs and a fork, pull all of the chicken off of the carcass discarding the bones into another bowl. Put your chicken pieces back into the stock.

– Pour the chicken & stock into the slow cooker. Place the rosemary on the top and season with the salt and pepper.

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– Leave to cook slowly on a medium heat for 3 hours.

– Once the soup has been cooking for 3 hours, stir in the fresh herbs and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the soup. Test the taste as it may need more seasoning at this point.

– You can either leave the soup as it is, or if you prefer a smoother consistency soup (like me) you can get a stick blender and blend to soup until smooth.

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– Serve! You can also store this soup in containers in the freezer and just grab it out whenever you want a quick, warm lunch.

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